A Pheromone Spray Test Drive

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There is it, in the back of the Atlantic Monthly—a perennially featured advertisement from The Athena Institute, singing its siren song. A love potion. A scientific edge for seduction. Pheromones.

I tried to look up the science of pheromones, which is hard for me, being more of a “Personal Life”-Wikipedia-section type. Of course we’re all familiar with the pop-physiology of pheromones, aka the Sexy Vibes of Nature. And focusing on them is an always-viral trend—remember reading about those Bring-Your-Smelly-T-Shirt/Group-Date-Parties where everyone sees what person’s musk they’re attracted to? It’s certainly an appealing idea, that you’re already sexy, just maybe you need to emit more. Like emoting through your pores.

The Athena solution claims it’s harnessed synthesized human pheromones, picked out of the available human-sequencing smorgasbord for the general enhancement of your own personal (perhaps depleted) level of attractiveness. You should really, really visit their website.

Now, normally I make it my business to steer clear of odorless, scentless, tasteless liquids whose sole intention is to influence the opposite sex. But anything for science, right? Dab a bit of the solution at pulse points, like perfume (also suggested: above the cupid’s bow). The solution itself is alcohol-based (or at least in an alcoholic vehicle) and is truly scentless. The accompanying literature suggests mixing it with perfume, but you’re allowed to wear it alone. I opted for the latter, since I don’t usually wear scent—trying to whittle the experiment down to one variable here.

Now, maybe it’s me; maybe it’s nothing. Maybe it’s science. Maybe it’s because I felt like I had a secret weapon—but I felt like it worked. Towards the end of my experiment I got so used to putting it on in the morning (behind the ears, at the nape of my neck, and at the base of my throat), that throughout the day I might forget about wearing it entirely, and be surprised when a grocery trip yielded an exceptionally pleasant exchange with a cashier. Even the FedEx guy suggested deliveries might be easier if I gave him a key to our building’s entrance. Oh, a KEY? Isn’t that a little fast, Mr. FedEx?

Even if the solution were a placebo, to me, just the act of applying it in the morning made me feel like I had a sexy secret. Isn’t that the point of any cosmetic? To look at yourself before you leave the house and take pity on the world, because they’re nowhere near ready for a woman like you. So even if it’s just a placebo, I’ll still be finishing the bottle, thanks very much.

—Trace Barnhill

Photo courtesy of the author.

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